Democratic elected officials are at odds over how the United States should respond to Hamas’ recent terrorist attacks on Israel, with some House Democrats directly criticizing President Joe Biden over the matter.
Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7 in a series of coordinated strikes on settlements in Israeli territory near Gaza that have left over 1,000 Israeli civilians dead. In response, Israel has shelled Hamas positions in Gaza, engaged in targeted strikes on Hamas commanders and suspended utility supplies to the area, which some Democrats have opposed and criticized the Biden administration for its backing of Israel’s actions, according to their comments posted publicly.
“President Biden has not expressed one bit of empathy for the millions of Palestinian civilians facing brutal airstrikes and the threat of a ground invasion of Gaza that would intensify this humanitarian crisis,” wrote Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan’s 12th Congressional District in a statement on her website. “The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians is a war crime … yet there are no statements demanding these violations stop from the American political establishment,” she added.
Biden and his administration have vowed to support Israel in its response to Hamas, though he has said that an Israeli occupation of Gaza would be a “big mistake.” Biden has also voiced his support for eliminating Hamas, which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization under U.S. law, in its entirety.
“Palestinian deaths [are] now twice [those of] Israeli[s]. Israel should stop overly broad attacks & focus only on Hamas. Enough,” wrote Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin’s Second Congressional District on Twitter, now known as X. “The [United Nations is] warning [of] dire conditions in Gaza … their humanitarian response will collapse in 24-48 hours without aid,” he added.
“The mass expulsion of over 1 million people in a day is ethnic cleansing … and will have “devastating humanitarian consequences,” wrote Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District on Twitter, referring to an Israeli order to civilians in Gaza to evacuate the northern half of the territory, possibly ahead of an invasion. “We have to stop ignoring the thousands of Palestinian lives lost and millions at stake!”
Some Democrats, however, have taken a staunchly pro-Israel view not adopted by their colleagues. “The United States must stand ready to provide Israel with the resources she needs to defend herself, and stand by her until every hostage, including Americans, are returned home, and Hamas terrorists are brought to justice,” wrote Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District on Twitter.
Gottheimer, himself, was embroiled in a dispute over a comment he made during a House Democratic Caucus meeting, where he was accosted by fellow members for allegedly blaming Hamas for the violence.
“It is critical that we acknowledge the reality on the ground: Hamas has intentionally placed much of its infrastructure … in residential neighborhoods – and even in schools and hospitals,” wrote Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman of New York’s 10th Congressional District on Twitter, addressing claims of civilians being targeted.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Arjun Singh on October 16, 2023